The Philadelphia Phillies have dropped their fourth straight by falling 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. Outside of a miserable pitching performance by John Lannan last night against the Cincinnati Reds, the Phillies have received good enough pitching to win any of the other three games during this streak.
No, the problem has not been the pitching; it has been two fundamental things that good baseball teams do that the Phillies simply cannot: delivering extra base hits and drawing walks.
During this mini-slump, the Phillies have drawn a grand total of zero walks. Drawing free passes is key to getting pitchers rattled and serving up that all-important home run ball. The Phillies pitching staff has surrendered 12 walks during this stretch of games.
The Phillies bats have not been completely silent. They pounded out 13 hits tonight and have 26 in the last four games. The problem is 20 of those hits have been singles. With the team not drawing any walks and not getting any extra base hits, it takes three hits in an inning to score a run, which is extremely inefficient.
In comparison, the Phillies have surrendered twice as many extra base hits in the last four games (12) and because of that, they have been outscored 20-7 in the past four games.
The Phillies still had a chance to win tonight’s game. After Ben Revere led off the ninth with a single, Eric Kratz singled to put runners on first and third with nobody out. Down one run, pinch hitter Kevin Frandsen grounded out to short and Kratz moved over to second. Jimmy Rollins then stuck out and Freddy Galvis grounded out to second to end the game.
All hope is not lost. The Phillies have plenty of time left to turn this around. But at 6-10 on the young season, they need to get back to what made them successful during their five-straight division title run: drawing walks and hitting the long ball. The return of Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young cannot come soon enough.